Reviews of Todd Gordon
20/05/2007 Alison Kerr, Scotland on Sunday
Velvet-voiced singer Todd Gordon may have made his name with the Sinatra repertoire, but this atmospheric new album sets out his stall as an interpreter of much more contemporary material: some of the 15 tracks are reworkings of standards (in often elegant new arrangements), while others are pop ballads given a TG twist. Overall, it’s a refreshing change though the pop version of ‘Where or When’ is an off-putting opener. Gabriella Swallow’s cello adds to the classiness of the project.
13/04/2007 Clive Davis, The Times
Catch him from the right angle and Todd Gordon’s face is reminiscent of Sinatra, circa Tony Rome . Stylistically, too, the fortysomething Scottish singer owes a debt to the master, creating his own low-key homage to the Capitol era, his live shows embellished with the sort of unfussy jazz accompaniment that has been a staple of Tony Bennett’s concerts.
Like his fellow Scot Carol Kidd, he goes about his work with a welcome lack of pretension. Not that Gordon — a relative latecomer to the circuit — spends all his time exploring the standard repertoire. His new album, Ballads From the Midnight Hotel, has its share of Sinatra material, but Gordon also wanders further afield, covering Lennon and McCartney’s In My Life and, with the help of sumptuous vocals from Jacqui Dankworth, giving Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind a stylish makeover.
That almost recklessly versatile singer Ian Shaw takes care of the production duties. If Gordon lacks Shaw’s theatrical instincts, he brings a suitable touch of late-night melancholia to I Get Along Without You Very Well and In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning . David Patrick’s arrangements, which make subtle use of the cellist Gabriella Swallow, are exceptionally well crafted.
On the bandstand, Gordon’s approach was so low-key and self-effacing that he risked being upstaged by Patrick’s musicians. Still, his eclectic material constantly sprang surprises. Was it really worth exhuming the Sixties ballad Hotel ? Maybe not, but Gordon deserves credit for seeing the potential in Melissa Manchester and Carol Bayer Sager’s Come in from the Rain.
If he never quite sounded as confident on the more contemporary pieces, Gordon was in his element on the debonair lyrics of They Can’t Take That Away From Me, lingering over the verse, as he did on that most evocative of Rodgers & Hart numbers Where or When.
Swallow’s wistful cello brought added depth to the Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen ballad To Love and Be Loved. Gordon, though, needed no help at all on a medley that swung elegantly through Too Marvellous for Words, S’Wonderful and Too Close for Comfort.
09/04/2007 Gerry Stonestreet, In Tune International
“I’ve been hearing good reports on the grapevine about Scottish singer Todd Gordon for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve actually heard him for myself, and I must say, I can see, or rather hear, what all the fuss is about.
For a start, the CD comes with a highly recommendable provenance in that it’s produced by Ian Shaw, not only a much acclaimed jazz singer in his own right, but also becoming something of a ‘eminence grise’ behind the scenes. Add to that, heavyweight instrumental support from arranger/pianist David Patrick, Alec Dankworth, bass and Guy Barker (trumpet and flugelhorn) and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, the singer is the centerpiece and it’s a pleasure to report that Todd Gordon is very much at home in such company.
Possessing a mellow and mature voice, and with a relaxed, laid back style ideally suited to these (mostly) slow ballads, he is at home with the old chestnuts like ‘Where or When’ and ’I Get Along Without You Very Well’ (reminiscent ever so slightly of Chet Baker on this one) but also prepared to tackle a couple of unjustly neglected Cahn/Van Heusen songs, both from films, ‘Indiscreet’ and ‘To Love and be Loved’ which I don’t recall anyone doing in the last fifty years.
A heavily Sinatra influenced repertoire, but Todd is no imitator – try ‘In the Wee Small Hours’ (with a Miles Davis type muted trumpet obligato) to see what I mean; he is an individual voice in a current entertainment scene awash with imitations that is encouraging indeed. Let is hope Todd gets the media exposure his talents deserve.”
“Gordon has made the great American songbook his own” - The Guardian
“The new King of Swing” - The Independent
“His clear, baritone voice offers one of the finest examples of tonal clarity among contemporary male singers who work in jazz. His vocal delivery is a sheer delight" -
Jim Santella, All About Jazz (USA)
“An individual voice in the current entertainment scene awash with imitations” – Gerry Stonestreet, In Tune International
“Leader in his field, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Great American Songbook” - Scottish Television
“Todd’s choice of music is impeccable and he and the band interact wonderfully” - Michael Parkinson CBE
“Spine-tingling stuff of the classic kind” - Sinatra Music Society
“Like all the great singers such as Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, Todd Gordon has the rare gift of creating the web of atmosphere that enfolds his listeners and draws them right into the heart of every song's story” - Edinburgh Guide
“Drenched in charisma and class” – Rick Finlay, Jazz Review
“Note perfect and brimming with charm” - Three Weeks
“Doing it his way, Sinatra’s ghost lives on in the work of one of his most polished admirers” - Clive Davis, The Times
“Todd strips away all the cabaret and show biz veneer and gets to the very heart of the lyrics of the Great American Songbook” - David Jones, Serious/London Jazz Festival
“Great performance!” - Dionne Warwick
“Todd's voice can really tell a story” - Jamie Cullum
“Very enjoyable...tender voice and wonderful selection of songs” - Elaine Stritch
“Todd sings with wonderful feeling and time” - Sheila Jordan
“The smoothness of his voice and his wonderful charisma on stage will make you want to hear him and see him over and over and over” - Barbara Morrison
“Todd can handle a slow ballad with ease, the true test of a jazz singer” - Carol Kidd MBE
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